Polar alignment questions...

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paul-nm
paul-nm Regular Member • Posts: 198
Polar alignment questions...

Hi, excuse what may be considered a stupid question by some, but it's one that I haven't quite figured out yet. While I'm not exactly new to photographing the Milkyway, I am when using a tracker (or in my case, a rotator). I purchased a Move Shoot Move rotator earlier this year in hopes of doing something different with my MW photography. I purchased the kit that included the wedge (oh man, am I glad I got this) as well as both the laser pointer and polar scope. For me the scope was a must have as my intentions with the rotator was to use a longer focal length lens. I practiced by using the laser to get close, then swapping out for the polar scope to dial it in. From the start, my plan was to incorporate my Sigma 50 Art lens, thus shooting tighter foregrounds to isolate a point of interest and then track the MW, also using the 50. I had success right away. In fact I'm blown away, hooked... But then, as it went last year, the smoke has rolled in. No....

My trouble is with the polar scope, or more exactly knowing where to put Polaris within the clock of my scope. I am using the Star Adventuer SA Console app's polar clock utility. Which, works fine, as long as I have service. My problem is that where I live in New Mexico, USA, which s at the base of a mountain range, I typically hike up 15 miles onto the rim, and quickly lose service along the way. So no polar clock utility. I have done the "walk around in the dark, on the edge of a 300' cliff, phone up in the air" thing, and had it actually work once! But the reality is, it doesn't typically work. So I end up guessing, or more of a SWAG, by checking the night before at a time close to when I think I'll be shooting. But since the whole mechanics of polar alignment is based on exactly where you are shooting from, my SWAG method is not ideal. That, and it's 50-50 on effective, thus far.

I will say this. I have used just the laser pointer to align when shooting with my 17mm, and never had a problem. But if I swap in the 50, it's getting pretty iffy. It has worked well once, and totally failed the next.

So what are you using for polar alignment, via a scope, if you haven't service for a real time app?

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Paul-NM

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